DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2003-08-09 - 7:01 a.m.

My cat Lucinda, who is a buttery cream color, fell asleep on a green marker last night and now she is a buttery cream color with green polka dots. She is cracking me up. Is that bad to laugh hysterically at your cat?

Iíve been thinking lately about how much I hold onto things. I have a terrible problem getting rid of things and not things that you would normally hold on to. For instance, I have had an empty Marlboro cigarette box for nearly ten years. It came into my possession one night shortly after I had moved here. My friend Kevin was staying the weekend with me, visiting from Florida. My friend Kevin is and always has been, incredibly special to me. Weíve known one another since I was sixteen and casually stalked him as he stocked the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Soon after we were having grilled cheese sandwiches in the deli and I was staying up all night so I could drive to the store in the wee hours of the morning when his shift was over, just to say good morning. We dated for a minute, but after that minute was up we were always just really good friends. Anyway, as I said, heís always been really special to me. And there has always been something sad in me about Kevin. I always miss him. And especially back then, I always missed him because he lived in Florida. So when he left, after that weekend visit, I took his empty cigarette box and saved it. It was something tangible I could hold in my hands when I missed him.

I also have an old shoe that is taped together with silver duct tape, wrapped around the top and bottom holding it together. It belonged to my brother. When he left a couple years ago to escape whatever it was he was, is, escaping, I rescued this taped shoe from my garbage can where he had thrown it after buying shiny new shoes for his shiny new adventure. I canít get rid of this shoe because again, it is something tangible I can hold in my hands when I miss my brother. It is something that reminds me of those months when he lived here. Reminds me of that week when my house was hit by those winds and I was left without electric in freezing temps for a week. When he would sit by candle light with me, he didnít leave, didnít find a house to stay at with electricity, he stayed with me and eat his crazy food concoctions. When he would tape figures from magazines to the TV for entertainment, how he would just take off at any given time, running for all he was worth, through town. He wore his taped shoe through that whole time and I guess I save it because I have to, because something needs to remind me that there was a time when it was just me and my brother living in these walls with our various demons.

I have rocks, just ordinary rocks, which I have picked up since childhood in places that I have visited. In no longer remember where the rocks originally came from and they are ugly, tucked onto every shelf in my house, in drawers, in plants. Just rocks from driveways, trails, even parking lots. But I canít get rid of them because again, they house my memory.

I have a ribbon from a bouquet of flowers my best friend sent me in high school after we had a fight. I donít talk to her anymore, but I need that ribbon.

I have a bright yellow sock I bought one night when my co workers and I were going to go bowling but didnít. Itís never been worn and I donít know where the other is. And there is really no reason to keep it but I canít throw it away.

A chunk of ceramic from a flower pot my neighbor gave me once and I dropped and broke.

A wing from a plaster angel that my friend David had hanging in his room when we were teenagers. Again, I dropped it and broke it and made off with the wing.

A single star earring that I found on the sidewalk once that at the time seemed meaningful.

A fork that once belonged to a whole matching set we had when I was a kid.

A bobby pin and a tissue I found in an old purse of my grandmothers after she died. I have many things from her, I have worn her necklace around my neck for fifteen years, I have dresses, furniture, pictures to remind me of her, but I cannot get rid of the bobby pin or the tissue.

An old tape that is unraveled and beyond repair that someone made for me. Useless, but I am unable to throw it away.

A pair of baby jeans I forgot to bring back with my old best friends baby after she stayed her for a week while J. was on vacation. Britt is now eight and I still have the jeans she wore when she was two.

A tiny stuffed chick that used to chirp when you put it in your palm. This came from the Easter basket of one of my roommates when I was nineteen. Somehow it ended up with me and I have never been able to get rid of it.

And so much more. I have these little things all over my house. Strange items that are for the most part unusable, useless. And I canít get rid of any of it. I start to throw something away and I start crying. As though if I were to throw away something I would be throwing away my past, not accepting my experiences, tossing away my old friends. And I wonder why I canít do that because sometimes I really want to.

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